East Preston Football Club made a winning start to the new season with victory over Combined Counties League Horley Town at a warm Lashmar on Saturday.
With a new management team and a completely revamped playing squad, the home side got off to a solid start. They dominated the early exchanges against their visitors from a step higher in the non-league pyramid and took the lead on 12 minutes.
A fine pass from Jack Barnes found Jared Rance on the right and he cut in and hit a left foot shot into the corner of the net, giving Horley keeper George Hyde no chance.
A big moment in the match came on 26 minutes when East Preston’s Josh Parazo made a surging run into the penalty area and was brought down by Hyde, who was given a straight red card. Rance made no mistake from the resulting penalty to give EP a 2-0 lead.
The home side controlled the early exchanges in the second half with Horley not really threatening the East Preston goal. The hosts went 3-0 ahead on 76 minutes when Rance played a great through ball to Dan Huet, who calmly beat a defender then the Horley keeper to slot home and make the tie safe.
Huet got his second and East Preston’s fourth goal on 81 minutes when he was first to react to a loose ball in the Horley penalty area and slotted home.
A minute later some sloppy defending saw Horley get a consolation goal but EP banked the £1,500 prize money and will now travel to Tooting & Mitcham in the preliminary round.
East Preston manager Bob Paine said: “This was an excellent all-round team performance against a team a step higher.
“Given that our oldest player in the starting eleven today was only 21, it shows what a young squad we have. I’m very proud of all of them for that mature performance.
“For all but one of the boys, this was their first taste of the FA Cup against players with vastly more experience than them but you couldn’t tell.
“It’s early days but it’s a great start for us. We will get back on the training ground this week and prepare properly for our first league game at home to Lingfield on Saturday.”
EAST PRESTON: Cook, Josh Parazo, Jacob Parazo, Witten (Hardman 65), Lyne, Smith, Rance, Mottershead, Huet (Harding 77), Barnes, Hunter (Taylor 56). Subs: Punter, Etherington, Beaney, Brown.
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